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November 2021

New Monograph: What is Delta-8 THC?

Questions about delta-8 THC have been trickling in for some time now. A recent FDA consumer alert warning the public about this relatively unknown cannabinoid has sparked even more interest. Here’s what you should know.

Delta-8 THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant, with delta-9 THC and cannabidiol (CBD) being the most well-studied. Both cannabis and hemp naturally contain these cannabinoids in varying concentrations.

So what’s the difference between delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC? They’re both psychoactive chemicals, but delta-8 THC seems to be 50-75% as psychoactive as delta-9 THC. Also, delta-9 THC naturally occurs in cannabis in greater concentrations, whereas the amount of delta-8 THC found in cannabis and hemp is very low. Because of this, most delta-8 THC available on the market is created synthetically. This is done via various methods, but the most common involves converting hemp-sourced CBD into delta-8 THC. Potentially harmful chemicals might be used in this process, and there’s no way to confirm that the end product isn’t contaminated. Like delta-9, delta-8 THC is available in foods, dried plant products, and smoking and vaping products.

If patients ask you about this cannabinoid, explain there’s a lot that we still don’t know, including its legal status since it’s not specifically mentioned in the 2018 Farm Bill. Many delta-8 THC products are being marketed for various health reasons for which there’s no supporting evidence. Also, there’s been a big jump in poison control center calls related to delta-8 THC – 18% of these calls in 2021 have resulted in hospitalization, and 39% have involved children. It’s also been linked to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS). Check out our new monograph on delta-8 THC, as well as our various monographs on cannabinoids and cannabinoid-containing ingredients to learn more.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2021 Natural Medicines Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. Natural Medicines is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.